Research

Research


race, place, and crime: how violent crime events affect employment discrimination

Map of Crime Events and Restaurants in Oakland, CA, 2013-2014

Map of Crime Events and Restaurants in Oakland, CA, 2013-2014

This article examines how exposure to violent crime events affects employers’ decisions to hire black job applicants with and without a criminal record.Results of a quasi-experimental research design drawing on a correspondence study of 368 job applications submitted to 184 hiring establishments inOakland, California, and archival data of 5,226 crime events indicate that callback rates were 11 percentage points lower for black job applicants than for white or Hispanic applicants and 12 percentage points lower for those with a criminal record than those without one. Recent exposure to nearby violent crimes reduced employers’ likelihood of calling back black job applicants by 10 percentage points, whether or not they had a criminal record, but did not have the same effect on callback rates for white or Hispanic applicants.

* Winner of Best Student Paper Award for the American Sociological Association Crime, Law, and Deviance Section

Mobasseri, Sanaz. 2019. "Race, Place, and Crime: How Violent Crime Events Affect Employment Discrimination." American Journal of Sociology 125(1): 63-104.


Emotional Accommodation: Women and the Give-and-Take of Emotions in the Workplace

Art by Sydney Pink

Art by Sydney Pink

Conflict between gendered social expectations and conceptions of the ideal worker often restrict women to expressing mainly positive emotions at work. Yet such findings draw largely on interactions between employees and external partners (e.g., clients), leaving open the question of how women express negative emotions, which relational work calls for, when interacting with internal partners (e.g., colleagues). I argue that, because women are socialized into roles that entail greater emotional obligations than do men’s roles, they are more likely to modify their expressive tendencies—that is, to accommodate their colleagues' negative emotions—to achieve the social benefits of emotional mimicry. I test this using the content of 425,649 one-to-one email threads exchanged over six years among 710 full-time employees at a technology firm. I find that women are 16.0 percent less likely than men to express negative emotions and 11.4 percent more likely to express positive emotions. Importantly, I show that women accommodate their colleagues’ negative emotions more than men do. This study thus illustrates emotional accommodation as a novel form of emotion work performed by women who are navigating gendered expectations. I also discuss the implications of such emotional specialization for research on gender and emotional cultures in organizations.

* Runner-up for Louis Pondy Best Dissertation Paper Award for the Academy of Management Organization and Management Theory Section


Brief Social-Belonging Interventions in the Workplace: Evidence from a Field Experiment
(with sameer b. srivastava AND Laura Kray)

 

Brief interventions that strengthen an individual’s sense of social belonging have been shown to improve outcomes for members of underrepresented, marginalized groups in educational settings. This paper examines such an intervention in the workplace. We focus on the technology sector, where various gender inequities persist despite firms’ considerable investments in diversity and inclusion programs. Adapting a social-belonging intervention from educational psychology, we implemented a quasi-random field experiment, spanning twelve months, with 506 newly hired engineers (24% female) in the R&D function of a west coast technology firm. Newcomers who joined in odd months received a social-belonging intervention in their onboarding program, whereas newcomers who joined in even months received a control intervention. We do not find robust, statistically significant effects of the treatment on women’s subsequent career success. Post-hoc analyses to explore whether certain subgroups might have benefited from the intervention did not yield a consistent pattern of results. To inform future research, we identify potential theoretical moderators that may help in targeting social-belonging interventions to organizational contexts where they may be more effective. Finally, we also specify a number of methodological issues to keep in mind when adapting social-belonging interventions to workplace settings.

Revise and resubmit at Academy of Management Discoveries


Art by Ben Shahn

Art by Ben Shahn

What is Cultural Fit? from cognition to behavior (and back)
(with amir goldberg and sameer b. srivastava)
 

How people fit into social groups is a core topic of investigation across multiple sociological subfields, including education, immigration, and organizations. In this chapter, we synthesize findings from these literatures to develop an overarching framework for conceptualizing and measuring the level of cultural fit and the dynamics of enculturation between individuals and social groups. We distinguish between the cognitive and behavioral dimensions of fitting in, which previous work has tended to either examine in isolation or to conflate. Reviewing the literature through this lens enables us to identify the strengths and limitations of unitary—that is, primarily cognitive or primarily behavioral—approaches to studying cultural fit. In contrast, we develop a theoretical framework that integrates the two perspectives and highlights the value of considering their interplay over time. We then identify promising theoretical pathways that can link the two dimensions of cultural fit. We conclude by discussing the implications of pursuing these conceptual routes for research methods and provide some illustrative examples of such work.

Forthcoming in Wayne H. Brekhus and Gabe Ignatow (Editors), The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Sociology.


Seeing Social Structure: Assessing the Accuracy of Interpersonal Judgments about Social Networks
(with Daniel Stein, sameer b. srivastava, AND DANA R. CARNEY)
 

sean-brown-2380.jpg

Even in brief or routine interactions, people constantly make judgments about others’ social worlds and their positions in social structure. These inferences matter in contexts as diverse as hiring, venture capital funding, and courtship encounters. Yet it remains unclear whether people are accurate in assessing the social networks in which others are embedded and, if so, which behavioral cues perceivers use to form these impressions. Drawing on the “thin-slicing” paradigm in social psychology and data on over 4,276 judgments made by 586 perceivers about 23 strangers, we find that people can accurately infer the size and composition of others’ networks. They are not, however, accurate in “seeing” the structure of relationships surrounding an individual.

In Preparation